In addition to previously announced European festival dates, Kim Gordon will be embarking on her first solo tour in support of 2019’s widely hailed, ‘No Home Record’ starting with London’s 6Music Festival and continuing with North American shows commencing July 17 in Minneapolis. In addition, Gordon will be one of the keynote speakers for the music portion of South By Southwest as part of a conversation with author Rachel Kushner.
The touring band features Kim on guitar on vocals, Yves Rothman as music director, Sarah Register on guitar, Emily Retsas on bass, and Sterling Laws on drums.
Gordon recently wrapped up a solo art exhibition of new work at 303 Gallery in New York, titled “The Bonfire.” The show opened January 10th and featured a series of works on canvas and a film titled “Los Angeles June 6, 2019.” Artnet News noted the works “present a world of safety and intimacy but beneath which lurk darker unseen forces…these images reflect our current reality where it seems no image is uncaptured, as well as the fact that even the most ordinary events are packaged and elevated as though they have more monumental meanings.” Last week Kim also participated at LA’s The Broad “The Un-Private Collection” series in conversation with NY-based artist Christopher Wool, moderated by music curator, critic, author, and gallerist John Corbett.
“Can’t Cool Me Down”, Produced by Dos Rios Films, Lyric Animation by Marisa Gesualdi
(photo by Carlos Cruz)
‘Making A Door Less Open’, the new album from Car Seat Headrest and the first set of brand new songs since 2016’s Teens Of Denial, is set for release May 1. The first single, “Can’t Cool Me Down,” a staple of their live sets over the past year, from the forthcoming album, and its accompanying video, are out today.
Created over the course of four years, ‘Making a Door Less Open’ is the result of a collaboration between Car Seat Headrest, led by Will Toledo, and 1 Trait Danger, a CSH electronic side project consisting of drummer Andrew Katz and Toledo’s alternative persona, “Trait.”
‘Making A Door Less Open’ sees Toledo embarking on new and imaginative roads to songwriting and recording, placing emphasis on the individual songs, each with its own “special energy,” rather than attempting to draw a coherent storyteller narrative through the album as he has in the past, resulting in his most dynamic and open-ended work to date.
This album was made from January 2015 to December 2019, starting as a collection of vague ideas that eventually turned into songs. I wanted to make something that was different from my previous records, and I struggled to figure out how to do that. I realized that because the way I listened to music had changed, I had to change the way I wrote music, as well. I was listening less and less to albums and more and more to individual songs, songs from all over the place, every few days finding a new one that seemed to have a special energy. I thought that if I could make an album full of songs that had a special energy, each one unique and different in its vision, then that would be a good thing.
Andrew, Ethan, Seth and I started going into the studio to record songs that had more finished structures and jam on ideas that didn’t. Then I would mess with the recordings until I could see my way to a song. Most of the time on this album was spent shuttling between my house and Andrew’s, who did a lot of the mixing on this. He comes from an EDM school of mixing, so we built up sample-heavy beat-driven songs that could work to both of our strengths.
Each track is the result of an intense battle to bring out its natural colors and transform it into a complete work. The songs contain elements of EDM, hip hop, futurism, doo-wop, soul, and of course rock and roll. But underneath all these things I think these may be folk songs, because they can be played and sung in many different ways, and they’re about things that are important to a lot of people: anger with society, sickness, loneliness, love…the way this album plays out is just our own interpretation of the tracks, with Andrew, Ethan and I forming a sort of choir of contrasting natures.
I think my main hope for the world of music is that it will continue to grow by taking from the past, with a consciousness of what still works now. Exciting moments in music always form at a crossroads – a new genre emerges from the pieces of existing ones, an artist strips down a forgotten structure and makes something alien and novel. If there is a new genre emergent in our times, it has not yet been named and identified, but its threads come from new ways of listening to all types of music, of new methods of creating music at an unprecedented level of affordability and personal freedom, of new audiences rising up through the internet to embrace works that would otherwise be lost, and above all from the people whose love of music drives them to create it in the best form they possibly can. Hopefully it will remain nameless for some time, so it can be experienced with that same newness and strangeness that accompanies any and all meaningful encounters with music.
“Yea but what’s with the mask”
Bob Dylan said, “if someone’s wearing a mask, he’s gonna tell you the truth…if he’s not wearing a mask, it’s highly unlikely.” He never actually wore a mask onstage so I don’t know why he said that. But I decided to start wearing a mask for a couple of reasons. One, I still get nervous being onstage with everybody looking at me. If everyone is looking at the mask instead, then it feels like we’re all looking at the same thing, and that is more honest to me. Two, music should be about enjoying yourself, especially live music, and I think of this costume as a way to remind myself and everyone else to have some fun with it. I don’t think it changes anything else about the songs or how you feel about them to be able to drop it for a second and have fun with it. If you can’t do that then you’re in a bad place…
The character comes from another project Andrew and I have been working on called 1 TRAIT DANGER. This is something Andrew started doing on tour—recording ideas for his own songs as they came to him, and forcibly enlisting everyone else to participate. It appealed to me because it was nothing like Car Seat Headrest, and the ideas cracked me up. Before we knew it we had two albums released, a video game that was almost impossible to beat, and a growing number of people who seemed to be enjoying it all. It’s been a great outlet for weird and untenable musical experiments, and the live performances have been a blast. I play a character called TRAIT, and we’ve been working out the backstory as we go. I think he spent a lot of time in classified government facilities before getting into the music business.
This is the kind of stuff that kept us going while we were working on MADLO. We were in our own little world and free to try any idea we “Yea but what’s with the mask”wanted. A lot of the ideas for 1 Trait bled over to the Car Seat tracks, and vice versa. You just can’t make music without first creating your own environment around it…sound’s always gotta travel through something. This time it was a mask.
On May 15 Perfume Genius (Mike Hadreas) will release his 5th studio album, ‘Set My Heart On Fire Immediately’, The first single is available today — “Describe,” a track that captures a sense living in the moment through a heavy fog of grizzly distortion and tumbling slide guitars. Hadreas notes, “it started as a really somber ballad. It was very minimal and very slow. And then it turned into this beast of a song. I started writing about when you are in such a dark place that you don’t even remember what goodness is or what anything feels like. And so, the idea was having someone describe that to you, because you forgot or can’t get to it.” Its accompanying video, self-directed by Hadreas, envisions “an end of the world where there are no boundaries, there are no edges, no rules, or the rules are completely new with how you interact with each other and the space around you.”
‘Set My Heart On Fire Immediately’ sees Hadreas re-teaming with Grammy nominated producer Blake Mills and features contributions from musicians Jim Keltner, Pino Palladino and Matt Chamberlin. It was recorded in Los Angeles, where Perfume Genius settled in 2017 with longtime partner and musical collaborator Alan Wyffels.
The album explores and subverts concepts of masculinity and traditional roles, and introduces decidedly American musical influences. Throughout the album Hadreas plays with themes of love, sex, memory and the body, channeling popular music mythologies while irreverently authoring its own. “I wanted to feel more open, more free and spiritually wild,” says Hadreas, “and I’m in a place now where those feelings are very close– but it can border on being unhinged. I wrote these songs as a way to be more patient, more considered — to pull at all these chaotic threads hovering around me and weave them in to something warm, thoughtful and comforting”
The sense of communion and physicality was borne in part from Hadreas’ work on ‘The Sun Still Burns Here’. Already a formidable stage presence, it had elevated him to a rigorous multi-disciplinary performer. “I had been working with them for a year and a half. With lots of rehearsals, lots of performances, lots of relationships and energies, and I was feeling connected to my body. I was feeling connected to all their bodies. And having boundaries be blurred and having rules be gone and having all this play within nonsense and absurdity — in tandem with a real connection and truly valuable work.” In 2019, the show travelled to Boston, New York and Minneapolis after its Seattle debut.
‘Set My Heart On Fire Immediately’ will be available on May 15th at all retailers. Fans can pre-order the limited edition double LP in translucent blue with a 24×36” poster via the Matador webstore or in regular black at this link. The Matador webstore limited edition record can also be bundled with an exclusive t-shirt.
AN IMPRESSION OF PERFUME GENIUS’ SET MY HEART ON FIRE IMMEDIATELY
By Ocean Vuong
Can disruption be beautiful? Can it, through new ways of embodying joy and power, become a way of thinking and living in a world burning at the edges? Hearing Perfume Genius, one realizes that the answer is not only yes—but that it arrived years ago, when Mike Hadreas, at age 26, decided to take his life and art in to his own hands, his own mouth. In doing so, he recast what we understand as music into a weather of feeling and thinking, one where the body (queer, healing, troubled, wounded, possible and gorgeous) sings itself into its future. When listening to Perfume Genius, a powerful joy courses through me because I know the context of its arrival—the costs are right there in the lyrics, in the velvet and smoky bass and synth that verge on synesthesia, the scores at times a violet and tender heat in the ear. That the songs are made resonant through the body’s triumph is a truth this album makes palpable. As a queer artist, this truth nourishes me, inspires me anew. This is music to both fight and make love to. To be shattered and whole with. If sound is, after all, a negotiation/disruption of time, then in the soft storm of Set My Heart On Fire Immediately, the future is here. Because it was always here. Welcome home.
03. Stoned Again
04. Comet Face
05. The Dream
06. Perfecto Miserable
07. Alone, Omen 3
09. Airport Antenatal Airplane
10. (Don’t Let The Dragon) Draag On
11. Theme For The Cross
13. Energy Fleets
14. Please Complete Thee
Steve Gunn and Cass McCombs are embarking on a co-headlining tour of the West Coast this May for 8 shows. Gunn and McCombs will both be playing with their full bands commencing in Pioneertown, CA on May 1st and will stop in Los Angeles for two nights at the Lodge Room before making its way up the coast and wrapping in Seattle on May 12th. This tour comes right on the heels of Gunn’s North American tour alongside Mary Lattimore and William Tyler in March. Tickets for the McCombs/Gunn May dates go on sale tomorrow at noon local time, save for Seattle (10am PST) and Portland (Friday, 10am PST)
Following the recent announcement of solo headlining dates in The United Kingdom and Europe, Lucy Dacus has announced further touring through North America in Spring and Summer 2020. The newly announced dates are in support of Bright Eyes and The National, respectively. General on-sale for all dates begins on Friday, February 21st. 10am local time for dates with The National and Noon local time for dates with Bright Eyes.
Stephen Malkmus will release his new album, Traditional Techniques, on March 6th. Today, he extends his North American tour and announces shows throughout the southwest and west coast. In addition to a previously-announced run including Chicago’s Thalia Hall, New York’s Webster Hall, and more, Malkmus will appear at Los Angeles’ El Rey Theatre, San Francisco’s The Fillmore, plus others. He will be joined by a brand new live band of Chris Funk (pedal steel, keys), Matt Sweeney (guitar), Brad Truax (bass), and Jake Morris (drums), and at times by Qais Essar (rabab) and Eric Zang (kaval, udu, daf). Tickets for newly-announced dates go on sale this Friday, February 21st at 10am local time.
Additionally, Malkmus offers a further glimpse into Traditional Techniques via the La Blogothèque performance of new song, “Brainwashed.” Directed by Thibaut Charlut with sound direction by Henri d’Armancourt, the solo, acoustic performance was filmed in the midst of Parisian café La Fontaine de Belleville.
Four stores (Grimey’s Nashville, Rough Trade NYC, Park Avenue CDs Orlando and Songbyrd D.C.) will raffle signed test pressings of the new album. The remaining eighteen stores will have one copy each of the standard LP signed by Archy Marshall, raffled off during the listening event. Visit each stores site (listed below) for specific information.
Joshua Homme’s collaborative motley crew Desert Sessions follow up the recent fever dream vision of their “Easier Said Than Done” clip with the latest music video from Desert SessionsVols. 11 & 12 (aka respectively Arrivederci Despair and Tightwads & Nitwits & Critics & Heels): “If You Run.” Directed by filmmaker / actor Rio Hackford, “If You Run” stars Homme and DS newcomer Libby Grace as a mysterious hitchhiker, following them on a sinister trip through the Joshua Tree desert, culminating in a freakishly hallucinatory finale set at the famed Rancho De La Luna studio. Hackford’s “If You Run” visualization also stars DS collaborators Billy Gibbons, Dave Catching, Matt Sweeney, Stella Mozgawa, and Carla Azar.
Director Rio Hackford said of the video: “The video was inspired by Josh bringing an unknown Libby Grace into the Dessert Sessions arena to show her haunting magic to the world. Homme, Sweeney and I are some of the only people who have heard Libby’s music, so the idea of them introducing her to the players and recording process lit the fuse. The song lent itself perfectly to the lonesome desert landscape and the spell that the Rancho can cast on anyone that passes through its doors.”
In other news… Inspired by the (disappointingly) frequent misspelling of the Desert Sessions, the desert collective have launched the Dessert Sessions: Feral Recipes for the Joyful Destruction of Taste Buds, a unique collection of otherworldly recipes created and inspired by the music of the Desert Sessions. Cheese stuffed meat rings, sardine topped doughnut cakes, avocado and sour cream gelatin plates abound! Fans can try their hands at one of these recipes here and share their creations by tagging #dessertsessions.
After premiering the performance of “Fool’s Gold” late last year, KEXP has released the entirety of Lucy Dacus’ in-studio set. The session includes “My Mother & I” from last year’s EP titled 2019 as well as Historian’s “Yours & Mine,” “Timefighter,” and “Night Shift.”
Lucy Dacus has recently announced a group of solo European dates taking place this Spring, as well as a performance supporting Bright Eyes at Forest Hills Stadium on June 20th. All upcoming dates are listed below.
Algiers’ recent visit to the studios of NY’s WFUV resulted in the above performances of “Dispossession” and “Void”, the former culled from the newly released ‘This Is No Year’, the latter a bonus track that can be found on the album’s CD version and digital versions, along with a flexi tucked into the LP edition. Algiers’ global touring continues tonight in Brussels (see below).
This afternoon (Wednesday, 5 February) King Krule releases “Alone, Omen 3,” the second single from his forthcoming album ‘Man Alive!’. The track comes with a video directed by Archy Marshall’s close friend Jocelyn Anquetil and was co-written by the artist and director.
Featuring Archy surrounded by his friends, band mates, and collaborators, the video backs up the message that “you’re not alone.” Archy explains: “I felt like I had gotten out of a dark place, and I was on a high. I appreciated the depression… but I also liked how I felt better in the here and now.”
On Monday, February 10, NYC’s Metrograph Cinema is hosting “An Evening With King Krule”, a special marathon screening event with video selections from King Krule and his collaborators, as well as two films that have inspired him: Maya Deren’s experimental “Meshes of the Afternoon” and the landmark French animation “Fantastic Planet”. Tickets are available here.
King Krule’s third album ‘Man Alive!’ is out February 21st via True Panther / Matador Records. Catch him on tour across North America in April (dates below)
This past Friday night, Algiers made their US network television debut on CBS’ “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”, performing “Dispossession” from their recently-released, ‘There Is No Year’. Algiers’ UK/EU tour kicks off tonight in Brighton.
Lucy Dacus has this morning announced a run of European tour dates to take place over April & May this year.
Following a whirlwhind end to the decade which saw Lucy release her ‘2019’ series, perform to packed crowds in Australia & New Zealand as well as playing at incredible festivals the world over, Lucy will return to Europe for shows in France, Switzerland, Germany, The UK, Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Ireland and Austria
Tickets go on sale at 10:00 GMT on Wednesday, February 5th.
Joshua Homme’s collaborative motley crew Desert Sessions return with the music video to “Easier Said Than Done”, from Vols. 11 & 12 (aka respectively Arrivederci Despair and Tightwads & Nitwits & Critics & Heels). Directed by photographer-director Chapman Baehler, this nightmare vision contains fascist-humiliating watersports, pig-men ejaculating glitter, a little defenestration, some light immolation… and Joshua Homme on roller skates.
For further edification, just watch the video over and over until the next one.
Joshua Homme’s Team of Crazed Collaborators Announce “The Bizarre Bazaar”, a Bi-Weekly Series of Desert Sessions Inspired Artwork Auctions for Charity with Limited Edition Quilt by Ben Venom.
The unique delight of Desert Sessions lies in unexpected collaborations between musicians who might otherwise never work together, and alongside the new video, Desert Sessions have teamed up with artists in other media including palm-painting, sculpture, jewelry, film-making, and, in this instance, quilting, to create one-of-a-kind pieces of art inspired by, and indelibly connected to — the music, for a series of charity auctions benefiting The Sweet Stuff Foundation. For the inaugural auction in this “Bizarre Bazaar,” hosted on a dedicated eBay page, acclaimed textile artist Ben Venom has created a 3′ X 3′ quilt expressing the sounds of Desert Sessions in fabric and thread:
“I describe my art as a collision between fine art, craft, and the fringes of society. Working with textiles, I contrast the often menacing and aggressive counterculture components of gangs, punk/metal music, and the occult with the comforts of domesticity. For the Crawling Death quilt, the fragility of the materials and their assaulting imagery are brought together in the form of a functional piece of art. This piece was made in collaboration with the Desert Sessions and it has been an honor to participate in the project.”
Find more information on the Sweet Stuff Foundation HERE.
(L to R: Stephen Malkmus, Chris Funk, Matt Sweeney. Photo by Samuel Gehrke and Chris Shonting.)
(Album artwork by Jan Lankisch)
Stephen Malkmus has announced his new album, Traditional Techniques, out March 6th via Matador, lead single “Xian Man,” and a North American tour. Traditional Techniques, Malkmus’ third solo LP without the Jicks (or Pavement), is new phase folk music for new phase folks, with Malkmus as attuned as ever to the rhythms of the ever-evolving lingual slipstream. It’s packed with handmade arrangements, modern folklore, and 10 songs written and performed in his singular voice. An adventurous new album in an instantly familiar mode, Traditional Techniques creates a serendipitous trilogy with the loose fuzz of the Jicks’ Sparkle Hard (2018) and the solo bedroom experiments of Groove Denied (2019). Taken together, these three very different full-lengths in three years highlight an ever-curious songwriter committed to finding untouched territory.
01 ACC Kirtan
02 Xian Man
03 The Greatest Own in Legal History
04 Cash Up
06 What Kind Of Person
07 Flowin’ Robes
09 Signal Western
Traditional Techniques will be available in a standard CD/black LP format, and as a red vinyl stamp-numbered edition limited to 500 with risographed red, white, and black alternate cover.
Malkmus will embark on a North American tour this spring with an entirely new band (more shows will be announced in the weeks to come). The Traditional Techniques live band is Malkmus (vocals, guitar), Funk (pedal steel, keys), Sweeney (guitar), Brad Truax (bass), and Jake Morris (drums), joined at times by Qais Essar (rabab) and Eric Zang (kaval, udu, daf). A full list of dates can be found below and tickets are on sale Friday, January 24th at 10am local time.
Is that a goddamn bouzouki? you may ask. A pedal steel guitar? What kind of Stephen Malkmus album is this, anyway?
It’s called folk music, and it’s taking the country by storm. Stephen Malkmus is only the latest popular artist to apply this old new approach to their rock and roll sounds.
Take the name Traditional Techniques with as much salt as you’d like or dig the Adorno reference, Malkmus’s third solo LP without the Jicks (or Pavement) is as organic as they come. It’s packed with handmade arrangements, modern folklore, and 10 songs written and performed in Malkmus’s singular voice. An adventurous new album in an instantly familiar mode, Traditional Techniques creates a serendipitous trilogy with the loose fuzz of the Jicks’ Sparkle Hard (Matador, 2018) and the solo bedroom experiments of Groove Denied (Matador, 2019). Taken together, these three very different full-lengths in three years highlight an ever-curious songwriter committed to finding untouched territory. Perhaps some of these “folk” musicians could take a lesson or two.
Created in the spontaneous west coast style adopted so infectiously by young American musicians in this time of global turmoil, Malkmus took on Traditional Techniques as a kind of self-dare. Conceived while recording Sparkle Hard with the Jicks at Portland’s Halfling Studio, Malkmus had observed the variety of acoustic instruments available for use. The idea escalated within a matter of weeks into a full set of songs and shortly thereafter into a realized and fully committed album. When he returned to Halfling, Malkmus drew from a whole new musical palette–including a variety of Afghani instruments–to support an ache both quizzical and contemporary. Stephen Malkmus isn’t one of those “hung up” musicians one reads about so frequently these days, sequestered in a jungle room of the heart. The jukebox in Malkmus’s private grotto remains fully updated. Not only is the artist present, but he’s on Twitter.
Traditional Techniques is new phase folk music for new phase folks, with Malkmus as attuned as ever to the rhythms of the ever-evolving lingual slipstream. Instead of roses, briars, and long black veils, prepare for owns, cracked emojis, and shadowbans. Centered around the songwriter’s 12-string acoustic guitar, and informed by a half-century of folk-rock reference points, Traditional Techniques is the product of Malkmus and Halfling engineer/arranger-in-residence Chris Funk (The Decemberists). Playing guitar is friend-to-all-heads Matt Sweeney (Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Chavez, and too many other to count), who’d previously crossed paths with Malkmus on the opposite end of the longhairs’ map of the world, most lately gnarling out together back east in the jam conglomerate Endless Boogie.
But, buyer beware, no matter how these recordings might be tagged by your nearest algorithm, the expansive and thrilling folk-rock sounds of Traditional Techniques aren’t SM Unplugged. One might even question his commitment to acoustic instruments, but we’ll leave that for somebody else’s hot take. All we’re saying is watch your head. Because alongside all that gorgeous folk music (“The Greatest Own in Legal History,” “Cash Up”), there are also occasional bursts of flute-laced swagger (“Shadowbanned”), straight-up commune rock (“Xian Man”), and mind-bending fuzz in places you least expect it (“Brainwashed”).
It’s hard to call Traditional Techniques “long awaited,” because Stephen Malkmus just put out an album last year, but it’s also exactly that. While he may have taken his sweet time in jumping on the folk music boom, surely there are those among us who have fantasized about how lovely it might sound if SM would just get with the times. And it sounds like all that and beyond. Set a day or two aside to transcribe the lyrics like the Dylanlogists of yore (though please keep your garbology to yourself) and vibe on the shape of folk to come with Stephen Malkmus.
This past Friday, Algiers released their already acclaimed third LP There Is No Year. Today the band premieres a stripped down live rendition of “Dispossession,” performed at Conklin Metals in Atlanta GA.
Algiers have embarked on touring in support of There Is No Year, wrapping up an East Coast in-store performance/signing tour at Repo Records in Philadelphia PA tonight and at Rough Trade NYC in Brooklyn NY tomorrow evening. Info for those performances along with extensive European/North American routing is below.
Algiers’ eagerly anticipated 3rd full-length and an early contender for album-of-2020 status, ‘There Is No Year’ is available today via all streaming platforms along with the surviving LP and compact disc formats. LP version includes the bonus track, “Void” on flexi-disc.
(“There Is No Year”, courtesy Adult Swim, Fish Center Live)